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January 20, 2012

A Scrumptious Start

By:  Morgan Davis

The blistering chill in the air may have brought some DC events to a halt this past Wednesday, but the daunting weather was not able to keep 18 eager participants from attending the first class of the Winter Cooking Matters series at Food & Friends.  With a record number of students in class, 3 helpful volunteers and 2 dietetic chefs, the kitchen was bustling with energy and the desire to create nutritious and delicious masterpieces.
With it being the first class of the six-week series, I decided that there was no better place to start than the beginning.  Therefore, the menu was based on foods that one may eat to start the day, breakfast!  Keeping the new MyPlate in mind, this breakfast menu was chock full of fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein and low fat dairy.  After learning basic knife safety, participants were quick to put their skills into action- we got to work with the tune of chopping and dicing acting as music to our ears.

With the veggies for our roasted vegetable frittatas chopped, drizzled in olive oil, lightly seasoned and roasted to bring out the natural sweetness, Tikanah and Beverly got to work whisking eggs with parsley, parmesan and cottage cheese, until light and fluffy.  All the components of this Italian-inspired dish were now ready to go.

Aromas of baking frittata were soon percolating through the kitchen, while we got to work on our savory breakfast muffins.  The class learned that baking can be quite a work of chemistry; over-mixing of muffins can be detrimental, leading to a tough, flat product.  But not today, and not in this kitchen!  Juston mixed the batter flawlessly, producing a light, perfectly-rounded muffin that was filled with zesty scallions, crisp Canadian bacon and melty cheese.  And of course for the benefits of fiber, the muffins were made with whole-wheat flour to pack in optimal nutrition!

To round out the savory side of our plate, I felt the perfect salad for this meal would be one that was light and refreshing, where fruit was the highlight.  Mark helped expertly cut a fresh pineapple into even bite-sized pieces while Janell reviewed the advantages of using frozen berries in the winter.  During this time when many types of produce are not in season, the taste of fresh berries often doesn’t make the cut.  Our last dish was a cocoa banana smoothie, made extra creamy with the addition of silken tofu- the class learned that this complete plant protein can be used in more ways then just stir fry! 

Before ending the first class of this winter series, the participants threw out many great ideas for dishes to include in some of our upcoming menus.  What delicious new recipes will we try our hands at next week?  Stay tuned to find out!

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